The only way to get into Gatorland is to walk straight into an alligator's toothy maw. The giant mouth provides entrance to 110 acres of marshy wildlife preserve––home to a vast ecosystem populated by thousands of alligators, crocodiles, and birds, including rare wading birds and four rare white alligators. Among these, more than 130 gators splash and lounge in the park’s breeding marsh, which visitors can view safely from a three-story observation tower or while sitting on the shoulders of Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Yet one of the biggest thrills of Gatorland is the reptile's raw power. Visitors can see this on full display during the Gator Jumparoo show, where alligators leap four to five feet out of the water to snag food directly from a trainer’s hands, or during the Gator Wrestlin' Show, where a handler demonstrates survival skills. True thrill-seekers can even dangle over the breeding marsh while riding the 65-foot-tall Screamin’ Gator Zip Line. And to experience the unsettling sensation of stumbling upon a swamp filled with alligators at night, the Night Shine takes participants deep into gator territory armed with only a flashlight and a few hot dogs.
Dash Around Tours' experienced guides cart up to 14 sightseers to scenic central Florida locales, such as Cocoa Beach, Lake Eola, and Kissimmee, aboard the Dashmobile, a van replete with complimentary food and drinks. During unique expeditions, quirky tour guides take digital pictures for the group's future perusal on the web, as well as dole out their own brand of trivia about central Florida that they admit is more useless than a megaphone at mime school. The tour price includes admission to area attractions, but riders must provide their own change for retail purchases.
Tantalizing Tastes & Tours guides Jerry and Jasmine Bacon shepherd diners through the Fine Dining Tour, introducing palates to the seasonings and styles of four or five handpicked restaurants. Private chauffeurs depart at 6 p.m., driving guests to gourmand gems such as City Fire, at which diners indulge in upscale American fare, and The Nile, whose chef populates a menu with authentic Ethiopian dishes. As journeys roll along, panoramic views of downtown unfold, guides elaborate on places of interest, including Amway Center and City Hall, and rousing games of trivia require guests to consult their noggins to answer questions such as "Is Antarctica actually real?" Drivers will also pick up and drop off residents of other cities for an additional cost, including Kissimmee ($25), Lake Buena Vista ($20), and International Drive ($10). The directors request that guests refrain from wearing shorts, flip-flops, or clown noses on the excursion.
The experience begins with a ticket that’s a printed replica of a 1912 boarding pass, complete with the name of an actual Titanic passenger whose identity you’ll assume for the remainder of your voyage aboard the one-voyage wonder. A fully costumed actor, portraying one of the ship’s famed passengers, leads history hounds and treasure seekers on the approximately 75-minute tour through the 20,000-square-foot exhibit. While learning about the ship’s construction and hearing the hidden stories of those who rode on her, you’ll walk through full-scale re-creations of famous spots such as the grand staircase, an opulent first-class passenger suite, the steamy boiler rooms, and a temperature-controlled promenade deck complete with oceanic stars and an April-on-the-Atlantic arctic breeze. You’ll also venture into the Underwater Room, which houses an eight-foot replica of the ship as she rests in her present-day home at the bottom of the ocean. Marvel at more than 200 artifacts, including movie memorabilia from the ship’s various film incarnations. At the conclusion of the tour, the background of the passenger named on your ticket will be revealed, and you’ll discover their fate on the night the ship sank.
Florida is a state ripe for adventure. Airboats speed across its Everglades, passing by scenic flora and fauna, such as the state's famous American alligators. Elsewhere, a giant Saturn V rocket looms over the Kennedy Space Center, where visitors can learn about NASA, ride a shuttle-launch simulator, or even dine with a real-life astronaut, who may or may not be made of cheese. An astronaut even greets visitors as soon as they arrive, provided they come on one of Gray Line Orlando / Gator Tours' buses.
In business since 1993, Gator Tours became the Orlando branch of the nationally known Gray Line brand in 2006, and has grown to include more than 20 buses that travel across the Sunshine State. The experiences mentioned above are just two of 59 tours that depart from the Orlando area. In addition to simple shuttle service, the company also takes care of full itineraries. Depending on the chosen trip, guides might lead groups through downtown Orlando or historic St. Augustine, home to cobblestone streets and America's oldest schoolhouse. Other times, the company's buses go straight to the ocean, where boats wait to embark on deep-sea fishing trips.
Orange County Regional History Center showcases the area's past inside a building steeped in Orange County history: the 1927 Courthouse. Today, visitors can explore the grand courtroom where the murderous Ted Bundy was allegedly arraigned. Such recent events, however, barely scratch the surface of the 12,000 years worth of history encompassed within the center's permanent exhibitions. Spanning Native American and Spanish roots to the meteoric rise of Walt Disney World, the museum illustrates Orange County's vast lineage.
The building has five floors, four of which house permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions and materials for traveling exhibitions that highlight Florida history throughout the country. An Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum also plays host to programs for all ages, from lunchtime speaking engagements to educational programs designed to spark the imagination and satisfy curiosity. The Emporium offers one-of-a-kind gifts reflecting the cultural history of Central Florida including rare vintage photographs, quirky Florida souvenirs, and delicious Florida treats.